By Lucy Baker, who lives in Irvington with her husband and toddler son and blogs at cheatingvegan.com.
When I was growing up, every year in December my mom would drive me to the candy store, where I would pick out a box of chocolates to give to my teacher on the last day of school before vacation. I remember agonizing over the different flavors of truffles — would she like caramel or raspberry? Milk chocolate or dark? It was such a sweet tradition, so I was sorry to hear (from my husband and brother, both of whom have worked as teachers) that these days they mostly get gift cards to Starbucks and Amazon.
I’d like to suggest this crispy chocolate peppermint bark as an alternative. I know we are all super busy right now, but I promise this only takes a tiny bit more effort than picking up a gift certificate with your morning coffee. Plus, your kids can help out in the kitchen, so you can create your own holiday traditions and memories.
Need more convincing? This bark is no-bake, one-bowl, and entirely adaptable. Use any kind of chocolate chips you like (dark, milk, white). Swap crushed Corn Flakes for the Rice Krispies. Leave out the candy canes and do a mix of chopped dried fruit and salted nuts–apricots and pistachios are my personal favorite. Oh, and did I mention this recipe makes more than enough for one gift, so you will have plenty of leftovers to treat yourself?
After you melt the chocolate, let your kids stir in the Rice Krispies and sprinkle on the toppings. Once it has hardened, they can help break it into pieces. I like to package it in holiday cookie tins or Chinese food take out-style boxes, which you can find at any craft store.
Crispy Peppermint Bark
Makes enough for two generous gifts
1 (12-ounce) package semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon coconut oil (solid, not melted) or vegetable shortening
2 cups Rice Krispies
6 candy canes, crushed
1/2 cup Mini M&Ms
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Put the candy canes in a large zip-top plastic bag and use a rolling pin to crush them into small chunks. Set aside.
- Combine the chocolate chips and coconut oil or shortening in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 20 second increments, stirring in between, until melted and smooth. Stir in the Rice Krispies. Using a spatula, spread in an even layer on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with the crushed candy canes, mini M&Ms, and sprinkles, if using. Using a second piece of parchment paper or clean fingers, gently press the candy into the chocolate.
- Transfer the baking sheet to the refrigerator and chill until the chocolate is set, 30 minutes to 1 hour. Break into pieces and store in an airtight container at room temperature.